Pin money

Pin money

If it’s 1849
your name’s Walter Hunt
and you owe fifteen bucks
to the draughtsman,
twisting a piece of wire
for three hours one afternoon
should be about enough time
to make the first safety pin
— complete with coil spring
and hidden point.
After you’ve sold the rights
and paid off your debt
you get to pocket
the small fortune of $85!

© 2011 by V. Nesdoly

The story of Walter Hunt and how he invented the safety pin comes in several versions. The one below (from claims he sold the rights for  $100. Other versions say $400.

“The product that Hunt patented as a dress pin is what is commonly known as a safety pin. Hunt was anxiously trying to figure out how to pay back a $15 debt. While discussing his dilemma with a friend, Hunt was nervously twisting a piece of wire in his hand when he suddenly came up with the idea for a pin. Hunt’s creation improved upon existing safety pins in two important ways. First, the point was completely covered when the pin was closed so it was truly safe. Second, Hunt added a circular twist at the bend of the pin to act as a spring and hold it in place. Hunt took his new invention to a manufacturer named Jonathan Richardson and sold the rights to him for only $100. Hunt was able to pay off his debt, but he once again could not profit from future sales of his product.”

I posted this poem in response to a challenge to revive a dead metaphor. The original article is “Guy Kawasaki says to Use Poetry In Business

4 thoughts on “Pin money”

  1. Pin Money. I love it!

    By the title I thought is was going to be about pinning money in the hem of a garment. Now I see how a safety pin touches money in two ways…



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